If you chuck original videos onto YouTube to share just with your friends, brace for advertisements: the platform's terms of service for U.S. users has been revised so that videos produced outside of the YouTube Partner Program can be monetized by YouTube.
That means that even if you're not a YouTube partner, the Google-owned company can place commercials around or in the middle of a video you've uploaded so long as it is considered "brand-safe" or suitable for general audiences. You will not receive a share of the ad revenue.
The policy appears in a new section in the amended terms of service which includes a new royalties classification clause for tax purposes:
Right to MonetizeYou grant to YouTube the right to monetize your Content on the Service (and such monetization may include displaying ads on or within Content or charging users a fee for access). This Agreement does not entitle you to any payments. Starting November 18, 2020, any payments you may be entitled to receive from YouTube under any other agreement between you and YouTube (including for example payments under the YouTube Partner Program, Channel memberships or Super Chat) will be treated as royalties. If required by law, Google will withhold taxes from such payments.
The eligibility criteria to enter the YouTube Partner Program remains the same in this ToS revision — some of which include a minimum of 1,000 channel subscribers and having accumulated more than 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months.
The change will come to YouTube in other countries with respective revisions in the middle of 2021. In the meantime, be on the lookout for more virally potent videos to get picked up by rights management agencies and more innocuous videos rated "18+" out of spite.
For the year up to September 30, YouTube derived $12.88 billion from ads, an increase of 23.5% from that point in 2019.